The foreign whore paradigm

The foreign whore paradigm

The witness who is believed to have testified that a Panama company in the name of the prime minister’s wife received millions in funds that cannot be legitimately explained is nowhere to be found and appears to have left the country.

It should not be surprising the poor woman caught in the vortex of the worst corruption scandal in Maltese history, in fear for her life and the life of her children, cut and ran. What should have been surprising is that she stayed as long as she did and had the unlikely courage of a stranger in a strange land to speak up about what she knew.

Perhaps ironically it is because she was a stranger in a strange land that she had no idea in reality what she was up against, alone, without income and without prospects of employment, without family and without any promise of reward, that she went as far as she did.

The utter inability of the droves of people – across political affiliations – to empathise with the woman would be incredible were it not for the collective dehumanisation of foreigners, particularly East European women, that is so pervasive in our community.

The woman was away from her country. She moved here because she wanted a good life for herself and her family. She wanted nothing more than to work, make more money than she would have at home and enjoy the legendary sun and friendly people of Malta.

I don’t know this because I met her. I have no idea what she looks like. But my uncle went to Australia when he was 18 and it wasn’t to face down the police there. It was because he had few opportunities here and he wanted a good life for himself. He got it and he stayed there, getting news of his parent’s deaths in the post. If at any point he thought things could be better for him back here, he’d have been here in no time.

This is a story most Maltese families can tell about any given uncle. And yet we are unable to put ourselves in the shoes of a Russian woman who came here for exactly the same reason.

She was exploited by her employer who made her work and did not pay her. She was unlucky in finding a job with an employer who was up to no good and to have joined up right when shit was hitting the fan. They actually tried to pin the shit on her.

Thinking she was in a civilised country where workers were not exploited and slavery had been abolished she appealed to the authorities to help her get her salary paid. She had no income to pay highfalutin lawyers with and in any case what she stood to recover would not have paid the legal fees. So on her own she researched who she needed to speak to in the labyrinth that is our bureaucracy.

Her former employer fought back and used its considerably disproportionate resources to intimidate her and silence her. The police, ever happy to take sides against the underdog, especially if it’s a Russian woman, presumably a whore, pushed her around and treated her like a criminal.

It’s such a familiar scene it is almost a cliché. A foreigner and a woman in a racist, misogynist society hated for being, let alone immigrating and worse getting out of her place by arguing her point instead of being compliant and grateful for being tolerated.

Foreign women get ‘go back to your country’ here for much less. If they dare insist the bus driver gives them time to lock their push-chair before driving off like a maniac they get howled at by the crowd.

And this all happened to this particular woman even before she realised she was in possession of what she considered to be evidence our prime minister was stashing illicit funds through a vehicle in his wife’s name.

If you’ve ever witnessed a foreign woman being hissed at by the mob on a rough bus ride, try to imagine what this woman went through when instead of complaining about an incompetent, but local, bus driver, she complained about a corrupt prime minister.

He may be corrupt, the collective psychosis prescribes, but he’s local. And if local he is beyond the reproach of a foreign whore.

The mob did not need priming. This was an all too familiar script. The friendly, smiling, crusty and tanned Maltese people she saw on the brochures when she looked for options on where to move to, became a cackling crowd of crones at the bloody steps of the guillotine.

The screws of police pressure tightened and the threat of formal, institutional retribution for daring to expose one of their own – the most prominent and powerful of them all – became too much. She was up against the Napoleon of crime, the boss of bosses, the first consul of caporegimes whose Achilles heel she had tickled by what she’d said she’d seen.

How to get away with crime 101. Scare the witness off.

He didn’t actually have to do much and he did more than he needed. I suppose Joseph Muscat’s loony theories that she was a spy on Vladimir Putin’s brief to harm him, supposedly based on unshakable information from the CIA and MI5, are now out the window.

It’s incredible she stayed as long as she did.


  • Edward

    It’s so sad, but true. I wish people would accept that Malta is not a liberal country. Yes, there have been improvements. Mainly thanks to Simon Busutill, who managed to shake up the PN and get it on board with many things. But that is the only place where change has happened. In the wider scheme of things, the Maltese are still are parochial and narrow-minded as they come. Those that are liberal didn’t need convincing, and were liberal already. They are in the minority. People in this country think it is fun and funny to lynch foreigners. They think that their passport gives them a right to do so.

  • Godfrey Leone Ganado

    When Joseph Muscat started a crusade of attacks against this courageous lady who, out of her own free will went to talk to a blogger, a journalist and the Egrant inquiring magistrate, it was very clear that Joseph Muscat was declaring himself guilty of the accusations being made against him and his wife.

    This was immediately followed up with the intimidation of the inquiring magistrate and God knows what the situation would have been by now if he lost the elections.

    Joseph Muscat and his corrupt colleagues will keep doing their utmost to cover up their skins and will not stop at anything, neither if they had to opt for mafia style solutions.

  • Anika Psaila Savona

    So true. As a woman I can relate to the manner in which this misogynistic society reacts that you dare step out and argue your point instead of being compliant. You are expected to stay put, bow your head and shed a few tears in private. As a foreigner it must be so much worse. And top that with being Russian too. Yes it is surprising that she lasted so long.

    Just one thing – why do you write “is believed to have testified”? I thought the reports on this were clear that she has.

    • Thanks for your comments. I choose those words because she is known to have gone to the Magistrate but what she said, as far as I know, was behind closed doors so I can only surmise what she testified. Perhaps I’m being too pedantic.

    • Emanuel Delia

      She is known to have been to the Magistrate. It is not known to me what she said. She is believed to have testified in the sense described. I guess I’m being pedantic.

  • M. Borg (slm)

    Get a life Manuel, is this how you want to garner votes on your attempt at the top. You are as sterile as Simon .
    The whole bunch of you get used to it , PL is there for quite a long time and you have NO ONE who can lead you to better times, you are a bunch of permanent LOSERS.

    • Emanuel Delia

      I am attempting to garner nothing for the top of anything.

    • J. Borg

      Le verita offende. It seems that it is you who needs to get a life!

      • Are you brothers? Kidding of course. I get that all the time these days.

  • M. Borg (slm)

    Was this Russian lady giving BJs , She is a liar and I bet someone in PN helped her escape to try avoid further embarrassment to Simon and the PN.

    • Emanuel Delia

      My first instinct would be to delete this deeply offensive post. But it so accurately confirms what I said about the racist mysoginism of people like you that I have to leave this here.

    • Andrea Pace

      What’s your take on Egrant, M Borg? The name appeared in the Panama Papers alongside Tillgate Inc and Hearnville, which belong to Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi respectively. Why do you think Karl Cini opted to give out this particular name only on Skype and specifically avoid email? I’m genuinely interested to know what version you have accepted as the truth

  • J. Borg

    Manuel — my thoughts exactly about this young Russian woman. She had courage to speak out — but when she discovered what she was up against, she realised that her life was under threat and that Malta was not a friendly place at all to make waves such as these. She is better off elsewhere, let’s face it … wherever she is.